Once the group had woken up and gone to breakfast they headed right for the library. Luna and Ginny were practically skipping because they would be missing Defense as they got this project started. Neville was walking at a slightly more sedate pace as the 5th year Gryffindors were missing herbology.
The ingredient list was fairly long so they split it up. Everyone would have to look into three ingredients and once everyone was done looking up their own parts they would rotate the lists until everyone had read up on each ingredient and added their own notes to the list to be as thorough as possible.
They would do the same thing for the actual potion techniques, of course they would have to read up on the basics of potion creating and why each way to stirring and number of stirs, chopping vs slicing and all that worked as Snape never taught them that he only had them brew according to the directions on the board.
Once the bell signaling the end of the first class Ginny had to leave for her Muggle studies lesson. The older Gryffindors had charms and Luna was supposed to be going to Arithmancy.
"Hey Luna look at this, I know fourth years talk about the Lunar fungi, but not much is known beyond it being a key ingredient to wolfbane." Hermione said.
"I think I have a copy of 'Rare Flora and Fauna of the World' at home, I can see if Gran will send it to me." Neville said. "There may be more information in there, and we should ask Professor Sprout more about it and maybe she will also let us take samples."
"I think we should also talk to Professor Vector, we will need to find out when the next blue moon is. Neville, do you know when the plant was discovered and where?" Hermione asked.
"I believe in 1973 it was discovered and potion master Damocles Belby decided to experiment with it. He found that the potion he was working on was made far more stable with its inclusion. In fact, most of these ingredients are. To extend shelf life and make it a more stable potion. If you look at this passage here it talks about the original unaltered version that only contained Aconite, Black Quicksilver, Giant Moonwart, and Myrrh which needs to be pickled in carrow spider ichor before use. Once the potion was completed no one felt the need to expand on it outside of the alteration process that all potions go through when new techniques are designed and ingredients become available. Everyone figured that was as close to cure for lycanthropy as we would ever develop." Neville said, showing an understanding of potions he had never shown in class. "What, I like herbology and part of that is knowing the uses of plants in potions. I would love potions because of how interconnected the two subjects are but Professor Snape only makes me nervous." Neville said with a shrug at the disbelieving looks he was getting from his classmates.
"Then we will have to brew a small batch of the original and the new potion and see how it affects the blood of the infected and also we should see if it changes based on if the person is transformed or not, and if it has any effect on those that are not infected as well." Hermione said, jotting down these new ideas.
"Remus is not going to like being near him after transformation." Harry pointed out.
"Sirius could get a sample of blood and fur. We know Moony sees Padfoot as a pack mate. And he isn't going to like another thought I have either, I want to see how the blue moon affects him in general as well." Hermione said.
The bell for the end of the next class rang signaling the beginning of lunch. Hermione decided she would be going to potions after lunch, she wanted to talk to Professor Snape after class. "Can you guys and Ginny gather as much as you can on werewolves as you can after lunch? I know none of you particularly enjoy potions but I want to ask Professor Snape for help with the wolfsbane as he is legally allowed to brew it and it is so regulated by the ministry so I am still going to go to class." Hermione explained.
Harry said they would while Ron groaned in response. He earned an elbow to the ribs from Harry as a result which caused him to give an affirming nod.
"I will meet up with you back in the library. I will ask professor Sinestra about the blue moons as I have the day portion of her class after lunch" Luna said.
"Thank you Luna." Hermione said.
"Hey guys, what did I miss?" Ginny asked as she came to sit with the group who had taken up the end of the Gryffindor table.
"We have a plan in place. After lunch I am going to go to Potions and Luna is going to astronomy so we can talk to professors Snape and Sinestra. Harry, Neville, and Ron are going to be doing research into werewolves." Hermione explained.
"I have a history of magic, mind if I look at the notes you have so far during that class? I have to go but there is next to no point. I learn more by doing self study for that class. Bill, Charlie, and Percy before he went completely off the deep end said half of what Binns teaches is out of date, partially inaccurate, and that the only reason the OWLs and NEWTs haven't been updated is because the ministry doesn't know how far behind we are with our history lessons." Ginny said when Hermione gave her a look at her request.
Hermione's look changed from the disappointed one she was giving Ginny to an appalled one at what she was hearing about the education they were getting at Hogwarts.
"From what Bill and Charlie say Hogwarts is still top notch to learn Astronomy, Charms, Transfiguration, Arithmancy and Runes, Care is average. Potions would be well above average but Snape isn't the best professor. DADA is lacking because we are always getting different professors. Professor Lupin produced the best OWL and NEWT results in at least 10 years. Muggle Studies and History of Magic are woefully behind even the worst ranked schools in the world and Divination is an all around joke." Ginny told the older girl who now looked about ready to pass out.
As the mail arrived Hermione remained silent digesting what she had just learned. Hedwig had already returned with a response from Remus.
"In other news Remus said that he is available to meet with us later this afternoon. Maybe after the Potions period we will all have free periods for the last class of the day." Harry said after reading the letter from Remus who said he was interested in what they were trying to do, for obvious reasons.
Hermione shrugged but was still in somewhat of a stupor realizing that all her hard work in some classes was for naught.
Ron rolled his eyes and shrugged. Harry wrote Remus in response and set up a time for the meeting. He also wrote a quick note to let Dumbledore know that they were bringing Remus in that afternoon to consult on their project.
With the end of lunch Hermione, Ginny, and Luna headed to their classes while Ron, Neville, and Harry went back to the library.
In the history of magic Ginny sat in the back most corner at the most isolated desk she could find. She spread all of the notes on the desk in front of her. She went over the notes that Hermione had made about what was talked about while Ginny was in class. She made her own notes and suggestions that she could think of when she rejoined the overall group.
One note that Ginny made on a separate parchment was about what changes after being turned into a werewolf, why certain potions stopped working and also what certain ones continued to work. What made them different. It was one of the first things they had discussed when they first met. One thing that most wizards did not do was look to see the "why" behind something working, they found something worked and just went with it.
Hermione and to a lesser extent knew that in order to create the best fix you needed to understand every facet that was needed. Ginny wrote down to ask Remus what potions and treatments worked on werewolves. She figured some they could test like they were doing with wolfsbane. They may be able to alter some of the potions in the meantime to have some type of effect on werewolves. It also may help to talk to Professor McGonagall about what goes into animagus shifting. It may also be pertinent to talk to Sirius and Professor McGonagall about testing their blood the same way they would test their own to see why being an animagus changed anything and if there was a difference between being transformed and not transformed.
So engrossed in her thoughts and notes that she was taking she didn't notice that class had ended until a first year hufflepuff shook her shoulder and let her know he needed the seat. Blushing Ginny apologized and gathered her stuff before rushing out of the room, she would have to get the homework assignment from Colin later.
Darting from the classroom she began making her way to the library. They had decided to randez-vous there and head to the Room of Requirement in order to meet with Remus from there. Even with her late departure from history she was the first of the three that had gone to class that made it to the library, she was also the closest to the library so that was certainly a plus.
Luna listened and took notes in the class, you never knew what small little tidbit may help. Today they were talking about Halley's comet. This was one of those astronomical bodies that could not be observed any time soon but a few rituals could be affected by its presence so they still needed to learn about it. Luna also made some extra notes for the project she was helping with.
She would have to ask Hermione about muggle astronomy because from what she had already heard from Hermione they may have a more comprehensive understanding of space and that could also help their project.
Luna frowned as Professor Sinestra explained that while there are records dating back millennia it was not confirmed that the object seen was the same one and therefore they had no way to identify a pattern. In fact it hadn't been until a Muggle born in 1974 that Professor Sinestra was informed of the nameless anomaly that they were covering had a name but she didn't fully believe that the muggles were capable of tracking the object. That comment made Luna double down on wanting to talk to Hermione about muggle advancements in astronomy.
After class Luna approached the professor.
"I am surprised you came to class Miss. Lovegood, what can I help you with?" the Professor asked, pressing her lips.
"Well the project that I am helping with needs some information on the moon. Specifically the blue moon. We know they are fairly rare and we were wondering if you knew when the next one will be?" Luna asked.
"They are very rare and unpredictable. Unfortunately I am not able to predict when the next one will be. You would likely have better luck talking to Professor Trelawney about making such a prediction." The Professor responded. "Now if you don't mind I have to prepare for my next class." She said ushering the student out of the class.
Luna huffed and made her way to the library, not at all pleased by the response she had gotten from the teacher. Hopefully Hermione made out better with her inquiries.
When she made it to the library she saw that Ginny was already there talking to the others.
"What's up Luna, you look mad." Ginny said, noticing her friend's unusually stormy look.
"Professor Sinestra is a dismissive hag. She said that there is no way to predict when the next blue moon is and that I would have better luck talking to Professor Trelawney" Luna huffed in a cold tone.
"I am pretty sure it can be done, I do not know the exact math but I think Muggles can predict it with mathematics that I am not familiar with. Maybe Hermione's parents can find the information." Harry suggested.
"That would be good. I also wonder if they could get us any information on Halley's comet and other astronomical bodies like it." Luna said.
"Oh that is easy, it last came close to Earth in 1986 and will be back in 2061. We learned about it in science class in primary school." Harry supplied. "Muggles have been studying it since the time of the Ancient Greeks. It was finally named and the earliest predictions in the 1750s by Edmund Halley." Harry explained clearly, straining to recall the information.
This explanation lowered Luna's opinion of the astronomy professor even more.
"That is amazing. I may need to look into muggle astronomy more. It may help find some of the creatures Daddy and I have been trying to find, if they migrate according to the stars." She said returning to her normal whimsical tone. To the outsider it may appear that she was aloof but in reality she was using it to distract from the fact that she was organizing and dealing with the new information that she had just been given.
Hermione sat in class, taking Ginny's and Neville's words as well as her own path of research into account as Professor Snape collected their essays from the previous lesson and then directed the class to begin to brew a Pepper up potion.
Hermione frowned as she saw that what he had on the board was identical to what was in the book and that there was no explanation into the process, why the process worked. Professor Snape may be a teacher by name but he never actually taught anything.
Hermione was at a loss. For four years she had just done as she was told and never thought anything more about it. She knew if her parents found out that she never asked questions about why things worked she would be in trouble. They always told her getting good grades was only one facet of learning but to truly learn you needed to do more than regurgitate the results and you needed to know some of what made things work.
She chewed her lip. She knew she needed Professor Snape to be in a decent mood for the request she wanted to make at the end of the lesson but maybe that was part of why he had such a disdain for the students, they never asked why.
Well she thought to herself you will never know if you don't try and you are a Gryffindor for a reason. And she raised her hand.
"Yes Miss. Granger?" Professor Snape asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Well I was doing some research today and I realized I have not been as diligent in my studies as I previously thought." She admitted.
Many of the students looked at her curiously. Hermione always got near perfect grades, even the Slytherins were confused.
Both of Professor Snape's eye brows were now raised. "And what do you mean by that Miss. Granger."
"Well sir, clearly the process for making this potion works, but why does it work? Why do you need to slice the slug? Why can't you cut it. Why do you need to stir clockwise four times and counter clockwise twice?" Hermione asked using two steps from the potion as an example.
Several of the students were in shock. What did it matter as long as it worked.
"2 points to Gryffindor Miss. Granger. For finally asking the right questions."
"Why does it matter?" Lavender asked after raising her hand.
"Can anyone tell me why it may be important to know how something works and why things react together as they do."
Hermione slowly raised her hand to answer. Professor Snape instead directed the question to Daphne Greengrass of Slytherin.
"I can only make a guess Professor, but if you understand the process your potion is more likely to be correct." Daphne responded.
"Close but not entirely true. What about you Mr. Thomas?"
"I don't know Sir," Dean responded nervously.
"Miss. Granger?" Snape asked
"Well Miss. Greengrass was right, your potion is more likely to succeed with a better understanding. But also if you know the process better then if you make a mistake you may be able to prevent disaster or even make the potion usable despite an error." Hermione responded.
"That is correct. 2 points to both Slytherin and Gryffindor." He said in response.
Then Professor Snape did something he had rarely done before, he actually began to lecture on the potion and why the process worked as the class scribbled down notes on what he said.
"I want a foot long essay on what we talked about in class today. For the next class." Professor Snape said at the end of class before dismissing them.
That was when Hermione approached him at the end of class. The Professor raised an eyebrow.
"Yes Miss. Granger?" He asked curiously. He knew she was the ringleader of the little project and she didn't have to be in class anymore.
"Professor I was wondering if when you make the wolfsbane potion you could set aside a small sample of the altered version and the original version as well." She asked. "I want to see how it works using muggle microscopes and blood samples from Remus and someone who is not a werewolf."
"Very well. I will provide some samples of both types until you need it. 15 points to Gryffindor. For finally thinking outside the box. Good afternoon." He said dismissing her.
"Thank you Professor." Hermione said before leaving the class in a good mood.
She made her way to the Library and saw she was the last to arrive.
"Please tell me you had better luck than I did." Luna said.
"Well each full moon we will have a sample of each potion we need." Hermione said. "and I earned points in class."
Ron fell out of his chair at that revelation.
"Definitely better luck than me." Luna said before explaining how her class went and what Harry had told her about the comet they discussed in class.
"I remember that. That was when I started questioning how useful that class really was." Hermione said. "I can see what my parents can send in that regard."
They then listened to what Ginny had thought of and the start the three boys made on their research. At 2:30 the group left the library and made for the Room of Requirement for their meeting with Remus.
Well there it is another chapter.
I do want to explain Professor Sinestra and Professor Snape. Professor Sinestra is a pure blood and had been in Slytherin. Even Mr. Weasley is shocked by what muggles can do without magic, imagine how someone with no close contact or interest in the muggle world would react.
On the other hand Snape grew up in the muggle world so he has an idea on what Hermione is aiming for but even he has a more insulated view than what Hermione or Harry has because of how he was raised by his mother who was a pure blood.
third and final point.
Lastly can anyone guess the muggle born mentioned that would have challenged Professor Sinestra and would have been a 4th year in 1974-1975?
Anyway have a great night all and enjoy the chapter.